New York Yankees’ Raul Ibanez hits a ninth-inning, two-run home run against the Boston Red Sox during their baseball game at Yankee Stadium in New
New York Yankees' Raul Ibanez hits a ninth-inning, two-run home run against the Boston Red Sox during their baseball game at Yankee Stadium in New York, Tuesday, Oct. 2, 2012. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens) (Kathy Willens)
Thursday October 4, 2012

NEW YORK - Robinson Cano and Curtis Granderson each hit a pair of homers, powering the New York Yankees past the Boston Red Sox 14-2 on a raucous Wednesday night in the Bronx for their 13th AL East title in 17 years.

In front of fans poised to party from the first pitch on the final night of the regular season, the Yankees completed a three-game sweep of the lastplace Red Sox to win their second consecutive division crown. The championship was locked up by the seventh inning, when Baltimore's 4-1 loss at Tampa Bay went final and prompted a huge ovation from the 47,393 in attendance Alex Rodriguez stepped out of the batter's box, and several players high-fived and hugged in the dugout while coaches shook hands.

But the subdued celebration didn't really start until Freddy Garcia struck Ivan De Jesus looking to end it. Players hugged and slapped fives on the field and put on their AL East champion shirts and hats as fans feted them with a standing ovation with " New York, New York," blaring over the loudspeakers. The team walked off the field to chants of "Let's go Yankees!"

"Now the real season starts," Derek Jeter said.

Cano tied a career high with six RBI as New York (95-67) finished two games ahead of Baltimore and secured homefield advantage throughout the AL playoffs. The Yankees will open on the road Sunday against the winner of Friday's wild- card game between Baltimore and Texas.


Advertisement

New York led the division by 10 games on July 18 but the pesky Orioles caught up on Sept. 4 and were tied with the Yankees after 10 different days in September.

New York rode the long ball all season and the four homers in the finale set a franchise record at 245.

Hiroki Kuroda (16-11) shut Boston down with an encouraging performance after struggling through much of September. He allowed two runs and seven hits over seven innings.

Bobby Valentine brought the lineup card out to the umpires for what might have been the final time as manager of the Red Sox, who finished last in the AL East at 69-93 in his first season leading the club. Boston ended the year with eight straight losses, their longest skid since losing nine in a row in 2001. The Red Sox lost 26 off their last 33 games.